Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The 2010 "Ear" in review part 1: Bay Lake Tower

Ah, how I love Disney World! Everything about it is just....Magical! From the moment I cross under the entrance gate, I experience a plethora of emotions. Excitement, jubilation, giddiness, happiness, I am filled with a child like wonder that truly transcends all space and time. There is a warmth in my heart that envelops my whole body and I am happy. I do refer to it as my "Happy Place". You know in Finding Nemo when Darla is banging on the fish tank, and Peach, the Star Fish ,begins to chant, "find a happy place, find a happy place", I found it ! After all, it is the most "Magical Place on Earth", I guess it's befitting to feel this way, right?

Well, the past 12 months brought the Dority Family three opportunities to experience the magic. First, our adventures find us at Bay Lake Tower, or BLT, one of our home resorts through Disney Vacation Club (the other being Kindani Village, at the Animal Kingdom Lodge). I am thrilled to be experiencing this resort! It made it's debut in August of 2009 and prides itself on being the closest resort to Magic Kingdom. It is! Most resorts offer the opportunity to select a room based on view preferences. Bay Lake Tower is no exception. Our selection fell under the category of a Lake View. Shortly before arrival I called and requested a high floor, Epcot view. I was not disappointed. We found ourselves in room 8234,on the 12th floor in a one- bedroom villa that sleeps five. What a view! I could see the whole "world" from there. We could see Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom, the Mickey Water Tower in Hollywood Studios, Spaceship Earth in Epcot, Characters in Flight in Downtown Disney, The Swan & Dolphin Resorts, Wilderness Lodge, Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Full view of the Contemporary and it's amenities area, and if I leaned over to the right just slightly, Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain railroad, and the Main Street Depot of the Walt Disney World Railroad in the Magic Kingdom where in my sights. In the evenings we could enjoy Illuminations and the Electric Water Pageant. Not to mention, it's perfect proximity to the elevator, a stop on the 5th floor brings you right out at the door to the Sky Bridge, the walkway connecting Bay Lake Tower to the Contemporary Resort. In all, BLT is a fabulous resort, in fact, we will visit again in February.

Dining
Bay Lake Tower offers no on site dining, with the exception of Cove Bar at the pool , and the Top of the World lounge, currently only open to DVC members. However, the Contemporary offers a multitude of options from quick service, counter service, table service, to signature dining at California Grill. You can even dine with Mickey at Chef Mickey's!

Transportation
While staying at Bay Lake, we learned the best way to get TO the Magic Kingdom is on foot, via the provided walkway- 10 mins! Tops! To get FROM Magic Kingdom, enjoy the monorail system by taking it back to the resort, the Contemporary is the 1st stop. To get to Epcot I recommend the monorail. A quick stop at the Transportation and Ticket Center to transfer monorails will find you there in no time! Of course, you may also travel by bus, or your personal vehicle. All other parks may be accessed via the Disney bus system.

Favorite Memories
-Locating every Baby Care Center at each park. Having a nursing seven month old makes for a different kind of trip for the mama, but I enjoyed our time together while daddy rode a few attractions with the big kids.
-Meeting up with friends at our resort for dinner and a little play time. Especially, when we left the daddies with the little ones for a quick trip to the Top of the World Lounge. We even got to see a rocket launch from the port! And while the daddies had their turn, we watched Illuminations & The Electric Water Pageant from our ceiling to floor windows!
-Our first dinner at Sanna! An Afro-Indian inspired table service restaurant located at Kidani Village. Nothing like enjoying an Indian-style bread service with a giraffe just outside your window!
-Our sleigh ride through Fort Wilderness and both girls falling asleep on us.
-Trying to keep Stitch from running off with Brooks, I think he (she) liked her!
-Our first family PhotoPass photo session at the Grand Floridian Resort. Families with little ones, get the extended session! So much fun!

Places we dined
T-Rex cafe
Ghiradelli
Contempo Cafe
Pizzafari
Sci-Fi Diner
Pinocchio Village Haus
Tutto Italia
Gasparilla Grill
Sanna
O'hana

In closing, two thumbs up Bay Lake Tower! You made me proud to call you home. It had everything I needed to feel right at home, while also feeling surrounded by the magic, but not just any magic, Disney Magic! Next adventure? Disney's Vero Beach Resort!